August 9, 2020

Police kill Canadian man during mental health check

(BBC)  – A Canadian man in mental health distress was shot dead by Ontario police, intensifying demands for reform.

Ejaz Choudry, 62, was killed over the weekend when police responded to a call to “check on the well-being of a man”.

In May, Toronto woman Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 29, fell from a balcony and died after police arrived to help her.

Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), is investigating the two deaths.

Ejaz Choudry, left, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet died less than four weeks apart in separate encounters with Toronto-area policeImage copyrightGOFUNDME / SUBMITTED PHOTO
Image captionEjaz Choudry, left, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet died less than four weeks apart in separate encounters with Toronto-area police

What happened to Mr Choudry?

In a press conference, Mr Choudry’s family said he suffered from schizophrenia, was paranoid and afraid of police. His nephew Khizar Shahzad says Mr Choudry’s daughter had called for a non-emergency ambulance on Saturday because her father was having an “episode”. Once paramedics arrived at his apartment in Malton, outside of Toronto, Mr Shahzad said they saw he had a knife and called the police.

Family recalled pleading with police to be allowed to go with them into the building to make Mr Choudry more comfortable, explaining that he was likely to be paranoid.

“I said, ‘Hey, he’s scared of your uniform, he’s not scared of you,'” Mr Shahzad recalled.

In a news release, the SIU said Peel Regional Police arrived at 5pm local time, and that they communicated with Mr Choudry, who was barricaded in his apartment.

“Shortly after communication stopped, officers breached the door and entered the unit. An interaction occurred which included officers deploying a conducted energy weapon at the man, as well as firing plastic projectiles,” said the SIU in its press release.

“When these had no effect, an officer discharged a firearm and the man was struck.”

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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